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Pittsburgh Open 2011
15-20 Nov, Usa, $25k
Walker wins marathon Pittsburgh final
Steven Baicker-McKee reports

[2] Alister Walker (Bot) bt [1] Adrian Grant (Eng)
              11-7, 6-11, 11-4, 15-17, 11-2  (100m)

The final matchup of the top two seeds lived up to its billing.

In game 1, the players started conservatively, with long rallies up and down the wall. Walker made fewer errors and carried the game. In game 2, Walker tried to increase the pace and intensity in game 2.

"I knew I didn't want to play at Adrian's pace all match," Walker said, "but Adrian's accuracy in game 2 made it very difficult for me to cut off the ball." Grant jumped out to an 8-4 lead and closed it out 11-6. Walker came out with more purpose and energy in game 3, and sprinted to leads of 5-0 and 9-2, and the match looked all but over.

But Grant proved why he is number 17 in game 4, ramping up his energy level to match Walker's. Grant started attaching more himself, and jumped out to a 6-2 lead. But Walker came charging back to knot it at 6 all, and things stayed close from there on. The pace of play was so frenetic that Walker broke strings on 5 rackets during the 37 minute game.

The players knew the tournament championship was on the line, and the shot making and retrieval and effort level from the players had the capacity crowd gasping and applauding at almost every point.

Walker had match ball at 10-9, then Grant had game ball at 11-10, and so on until Grant won the game 17-15. The marathon game seemed to take something out of Grant, however, and Walker dominated the final game.

3 Rivers Capital
Pittsburgh Open 2011
15-20 Nov, Usa, $25k
Round One
17 Nov
18 Nov
19 Nov
20 Nov
[1] Adrian Grant (Eng)
11-5, 11-4, 11-5  (33m)
[Q] Jaymie Haycocks (Eng)
[1] Adrian Grant
11-8, 11-8, 11-1 (48m)
Henrik Mustonen
[1] Adrian Grant

11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7 (75m)

[3] Shahier Razik

[1] Adrian Grant

11-7, 6-11, 11-4, 15-17, 11-2 (100m)

[2] Alister Walker

Stephane Galifi (Ita)
 11-7.11-5. 11-6  (29m)
Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (44m)
[LL] Scott Arnold (Aus)
Campbell Grayson
11-7, 11-8, 11-7 (56m)
[3] Shahier Razik
Arturo Salazar (Mex)
 11-7, 11-5, 6-1 (rtd) (21m)
[3] Shahier Razik (Can)
[4] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5. 11-4 (74m)
[Q] Olivier Pett (Eng)
[4] Ryan Cuskelly
11-8, 11-4, 11-6 (40m)
Cesar Salazar
[4] Ryan Cuskelly

12-10, 12-10, 11-3(55m)

[2] Alister Walker

Cesar Salazar (Mex)
11-4, 11-7, 11-7 (35m)
[Q] Eric Galvez (Mex)
Chris Simpson (Eng)
 12-10, 10-12, 11-4, 11-6 (65m)
[Q] Joel Hinds (Eng)
Chris Simpson
9-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 (61m)
[2] Alister Walker
Amr Khaled Khalifa (Egy)
11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 11-4 (78m)
[2] Alister Walker (Bot)

Qualifying Finals:
Jaymie Haycocks (Eng) bt Robbie Temple (Eng)   12-10, 11-3, 11-1 (31m)
Joel Hinds (Eng) bt Peter Creed (Wal)                  11-9, 11-5, 11-9 (52m)
Eric Galvez (Mex) bt Scott Arnold (Aus)      12-10, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9 (72m)
Olivier Pett (Eng) bt Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)                         w/o

Qualifying Round One:
Robbie Temple (Eng) bye
Jaymie Haycocks (Eng) bt Arshad Iqbal Burki (Pak) 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 (28m)
Peter Creed (Wal) bt Robert Downer (Eng) 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (34m)
Joel Hinds (Eng) bt George Satler (Usa) 11-3, 11-2, 11-5 (30m)
Eric Galvez (Mex) bt Steve Baicker-McKee (Usa) 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 (30m)
Scott Arnold (Aus) bt Raphael Kandra (Ger) 11-9, 10-12, 11-2, 11-8 (42m)
Olivier Pett (Eng) bt Alex Reynolds (Usa) 11-3, 11-5, 11-7 (40m)
Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy) bye
Top seeds through to Pittsburgh final
Steven Baicker-McKee reports

Adrian Grant bt Shahier Razik 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7

In a beautifully played game of classic squash, number one seed Grant was a little bit more consistent. The match was played at Razik's pace, with medium speed tight drives and pressuring drops dominating the play. Game one was even at 6 all, before Grant rattled off 4 straight points with a series of soft drops.

Grant won game 2 comfortably, but Razik came back strong in the third, winning primarily with very tight length. Razik stayed close in game 4 through 8-7, and a 5th game looked like a real possibility, but Grant closed out the match with two ungettable drops and a Razik tin.

Alister Walker beat Ryan Cuskelly 12-10, 12-10, 11-3

THe second match was a contrast in style to the first game. Cuskelly knew he did not want to rally with Walker, so he attacked the corners, and Walker counter-attacked with re-drops and drives. The first two games were knots at 10 all, but Walker won the next 2 points both times. Walker then upped his game for the third, and won handily.

There was quite a humorous moment in the second game. A stroke was called against Walker at 9-8. Walker both disagreed with the call, and also thought the game was over. He stormed off the court over to his corner, with a few choice (but civil) words for the ref.

The ref then told him it was only 10-8, and Walker said, "that's all right then - I thought it was a rough call for game ball" and returned cheerfully to the court, only to win the next 4 points and the game.
Top seeds through to Pittsburgh semis
Steven Baicker-McKee reports

The quarter finals went according to form, with all four top seeds advancing.

Adrian Grant beat Henrik Mustonen 11-8, 11-8, 11-1 

The first two games were closely contested, with both players playing fairly conservatively and retrieving extremely well. Retrieving Grant's shots eventually wore Mustonen out, and Grant sailed through the 3rd.

Shahier Razik beat Campbell Grayson 11-7, 11-8, 11-7

 Razik's smooth movement and mid-paced accuracy were too much for Grayson today. After Grayson attacked his crosscourts to great effect, Razik switched to straight drives and drops, and his accurate tightness carried the match.

Ryan Cuskelly beat Cesar Salazar 11-8, 11-4, 11-6

Salazar was not on his game, and Cuskelly kept his foot on the accelerator, moving Salazar around and forcing errors.

Alister Walker beat Chris Simpson 9-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-6

In the most closely contested match of the quarter finals, Walker again used his speed and fitness to wear down his opponent. The first game was 20 minutes of back and forth shot making and retrieval, with Simpson coming out on top. He expended too much energy, however, and Walker controlled the match from that point on, playing clean crisp squash.

Round One in Pittsburgh
Steven Baicker-McKee reports

Adrian Grant beat Jaymie Haycocks 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 in 33 min.
The number one seed lived up to his billing in the first round, playing almost error free squash.

Henrick Mustonen beat Stephan Galifi 11-7.11-5. 11-6 in 29 min.
Running off points in chunks of 6 and 7 in a row, Mustonen was too much for Galifi tonight.

Cambell Grayson beat Scott Arnold 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 in 44 min.

Shahier Razik beat Arturo Salazar 11-7, 11-5, 6-1 (retired) in 21 min. Razik had no trouble putting away Salazar, who was slowed by an injury that forced him to retire in the third.

Cesar Salazar beat Eric Galvez 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 in 35 min.
In a match between 2 very quick players, Salazar was the quicker, and he was able to retrieve enough of Galvez's attacking shots to score a comfortable win.

Ryan Cuscully beat Olivier Pett 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5. 11-4 in 74 min.
In a match that had the crowd gasping and applauding, Cuscully was able to hang on and win against Pett. Cuscully and Pett played this match in all four corners of the court, with one player hitting a nick and the other still managing to scrape the ball off the floor and keep the point alive, almost nothing separated these two for most of the match. Unfortunately for Pett, he seemed to tweak a hamstring injury in the middle of the match, and Cuscully was able to control the final 2 games.

Chris Simpson beat Joel Hinds 12-10, 10-12, 11-4, 11-6 in 65 min.
Hinds got up 10-7 in the first, only to see Simpson put together a string of outright winners to come back and win the game 12-10. Hinds then got up in the second again, this time 10-6, only to see Simpson put together another string of winners and tie it at 10. This time, Hinds was able to refocus and close out the game 12-10. Losing those two leads seemed to shake Hinds' concentration, though, and after Hinds won the first 3 points of the third, Simpson won 8 of the next 9, to take an 8-3 lead and then to close it out 11-4. The fourth game was close most of the way, with Simpson leading 7-6 before winning the final 4 points to take the match.

Alister Walker beat Amr Kalifa 11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 11-4 in 78 min.
In the last match of the first round, it looked for a bit like we might see the first significant upset. Young Egyptian Kalifa was playing strong Egyptian style squash, mixing up low hard drives with attacking shots into the nick. Kalifa was up in the first game 6-1 and 9-8, but the experienced Walker came back to win. Kalifa then built another 6-1 lead in the second, and this time held on to win 11-8. But the first two games seemed to wear Kalifa down, and the experience, skill, and fitness of Walker came through in the next 2 games, where the veteran seemed in control.

Qualifying complete in Pittsburgh
Steven Baicker-McKee reports

In the first match of the qualifier finals, Robbie Temple, the highest seeded qualifier, lost to fellow Brit Jaymie Haycocks. The first game was a real battle, lasting 20 minutes with neither player up by more than 2 points throughout. Haycocks worked hard to keep up with Temple’s constant volleying and drops, and pulled out the game in overtime when Temple hit a couple of tins. In game 2, however, Temple looked like he tweaked an injury, and even after taking injury time did not look like the player from the first game.

The second match was a rematch of one two years ago, when Joel Hinds came through the qualifier to win the Pittsburgh Open. Hinds met Peter Creed in the qualifier finals in 2009, with the same result in 2011. Creed’s speed kept him in every point, but in the end Hinds’ accuracy proved too much.

 In the third match of the qualifier finals, Eric Galvez’s shot making prevailed over Scott Arnold’s precision drives. The first two games were long, close battles, with Galvez expending a lot of energy to win both. Arnold jumped out to a big lead in the third, and Galvez decided to save his energy for the 4th. The last game was another back and forth match, with some extremely exciting points in which both players showcased their quick feet and hands.

Olivier Pett beat Marwan El Shorbagy in a walkover. El Shorbagy, who had sustained a hamstring injury in Dayton, was unable to compete, advancing Pett to the main draw.

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